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VQA Sire EPD Specifications Spring 2005

Livestock Update, February 2005

Dr. Scott P. Greiner Extension Animal Scientist, Beef, VA Tech

The Virginia Quality Assured Feeder Calf Program has established a positive reputation as a source of high quality feeder cattle. This positive reputation has assisted many producers in adding value to their beef enterprise- over time documented as $30-35 per head compared to graded feeder cattle sold on the same date. The added value for VQA calves is the result of several factors, including program standards for animal health, genetics, and best management practices. Specifically, to qualify for VQA designation, feeder cattle must have received a prescribed vaccination program, be sired by bulls with minimum EPD requirements, and come from a producer's who is Beef Quality Assurance certified.

With the heart of the bull-buying season now upon us, it may be time to review the genetic specifications for the VQA program. VQA Purple Tag requirements include a specification that sires meet minimum yearling weight growth Expected Progeny Differences (EPD). Each calf's sire must meet breed-specific yearling weight EPD minimums to qualify for the Purple Tag. The intention of the sire growth EPD specification is document these calves have genetic potential for post-weaning growth performance that meets or exceeds the breed average for the breed of their sire. Research has demonstrated that feedlot profitability is highly related to cost of gain (cost to put on live weight or carcass weight), which is primarily a function of growth (ADG), feed efficiency, health, and feed costs. Post-weaning growth can be effectively enhanced through selection using Yearling Weight EPD.

The following table provides the breed minimum yearling weight EPD requirements for bulls born in Fall 2003 and Spring 2004 (applicable to bulls purchased fall 2004 and spring 2005). Calves sired by bulls with yearling weight EPDs greater than or equal to the minimums published are eligible for the purple tag. In the event a bull does not have a yearling weight EPD, weaning weight EPD is used as the specification. For specifications for bulls born previous to fall 2003, contact your local Virginia Cooperative Extension office or the Virginia Cattlemen's Association.

VQA Purple Tag
Sire Minimum Yearling Weight EPD Requirements
Bulls Born Fall 2003 & Spring 2004
Breed (%) Minimum YW EPD Minimum WW EPDa
Angus +67 +36
Charolais (PB and 15/16) +25 +14
Charolais (7/8) +23 +12
Charolais (3/4) +21 +9
Gelbvieh (PB) +68 +37
Gelbvieh (Balancer) +67 +33
Hereford +61 +36
Limousin +64 +34
Red Angus +52 +29
Salers +20 +13
Simmental (PB ) +51 +29
Simmental (3/4) +44 +26
Simmental (1/2) +36 +19
aWW EPD only used in the absence of YW EPD

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